Traffic psychology is the study of the social-psychological forces that act upon California drivers in traffic. Situations are analyzed through all external as well as internal methods of data gathering.
For example, in one study the aggressiveness of California drivers was measured in terms of observed rate of speed reduction, or the making of some hostile gesture at pedestrians in a marked crosswalk. It was found that aggressiveness of both men and women drivers was higher against men pedestrians than women pedestrians. This is an instance of the external analysis of driver behavior. In another study, drivers spoke their thoughts out loud into a tape recorder giving their perceptions and reactions to traffic events and incidents.
It was found that the average trip from home and work is filled with many incidents that arouse feelings of hostility and thoughts of mental violence. This is an instance of the internal analysis of driver behavior.
An approach that involves both internal and external analyses consists of interviewing drivers about their driving, either "in depth" or on a questionnaire. One may also have observers independently make observations of drivers who are making self-witnessing tapes, which allows the comparison of external and internal data.
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